The University of the West of Scotland (UWS) has won a major national award for teaching excellence, recognising the University’s pioneering dementia-focused ‘Class in a Bag’ initiative.

In a first for UWS, the University has been awarded an Advanced HE Collaborative Award for Teaching Excellence (CATE), for its ground-breaking Class in a Bag programme, created by their Adult Nursing Lecturers in collaboration with UWS’s Alzheimer Scotland Centre for Policy and Practice (ASCPP) team and Alzheimer Scotland.

Led by Professor Debbie Tolson and Winnie McGarry from the School of Health and Life Sciences at UWS, Class in a Bag is a portable, intergenerational education resource used by student nurses to teach schoolchildren about dementia and how they can help support people living with the condition.

The Collaborative Award for Teaching Excellence (CATE) recognises and rewards collaborative work that has had a demonstrable impact on teaching and learning, highlighting the key role of teamwork in higher education.

Professor Debbie Tolson, team leader and director of the Alzheimer Scotland Centre for Policy and Practice, said: “We are thrilled that our work has been recognised through this award. ‘Understanding dementia: Class in a Bag’ enables students to build their knowledge and professional and personal skills about dementia by delivering workshops about dementia in schools.

“Since 2012, more than 10,000 schoolchildren have learned from over 2,400 students about dementia. This adaptable resource has also been used to support others to learn about dementia, including family carers, volunteers and care home staff.”

Henry Simmons, Alzheimer Scotland's Chief Executive said: “The commitment of UWS to improving the lives of people with dementia and their carers has been unquestionable and outstanding, we are proud to work in partnership with our colleagues at the ASCPP and are delighted that the incredibly innovative and impactful ‘Class in a Bag’, along with the whole team’s efforts has been recognised in such a positive way through this prestigious award.”